Dear Reader: You Are Loved No Matter What

Dear Reader- You Are Loved No Matter What

Dear Reader,

 

I want you to know that you are loved.

 

I want you to see that not only are you not your past, but you are not loved because of anything you could ever do.

 

While some see that as depressing, I see that as relieving. That no matter what I do, I cannot “lose” God’s love. Neither can you.

 

We cannot sin so many times to retract God’s love from us. We cannot make so many mistakes or bad decisions, or be such a disappointment that God says, “Sorry kid, I don’t love you anymore.”

 

The reality is that His love has nothing to do with our performance, but everything to do with His mercy and grace.

 

The conditions on which He loves us have nothing do do with who we are but who He is.

 

We make mistakes, and we sin. Our inherent nature is not to be perfect, but to live for ourselves. Yet God is different. God doesn’t say, “I love you because you’re perfect,” He says, “I love you because I am perfect.”

 

“I love you because I created you.”

“I love you because even though you do not deserve it, I choose to love you.”

 

That’s powerful.

 

You are cherished, no matter what your life looks like.

 

I’m not trying to say, “Hey, everyone! Because God loves you regardless of your lifestyle, go live however you want!” My point is to the contrary.

 

In knowing that we are loved in spite of the fact that we’re utterly imperfect, we find freedom. Not to live as slaves to our sinful desires, for when we grasp the love of God, the love of sin won’t seem so lovely anymore.

 

See, the love of God didn’t stop with the simple phrase, “I love you.” It only started there. It was an “I love you; let me prove it to you.”

 

Sending Jesus to die to pay the price of the forgiveness of our sins (whew, that was a mouthful) brought that love from just a word to an action. God didn’t sit back and say to us, “I love you, but you’re gonna have to figure it out on your own, because that whole sin mess you got yourselves into is ugly and tough to deal with, so good luck.”

 

No, He said, “I love you, and I don’t want to see any of you spend eternity apart from me. Here is my Son, to die and rise from the dead, that in believing in Him you may have life and be my child.”

 

John 20:31

“But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

 

John 1:12-13

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

So Dear Reader, no matter what you do, you are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). You are loved by a God who desperately wants to have a relationship with you. You are loved because of who He is and because of His amazing grace, and not because of your performance.

 

Let us not forget that that we are NEVER out of the reach of His mercy and love.

 

*aj

Dear Reader: You Are Not Your Past

Dear Reader- You Are Not Your Past.png

I’m opening a new category on my blog called “Dear Reader.” This will be a lot like “Dear Christian Teens,” but it’ll hopefully have a more expanded demographic than just 13-19. I love to write in letter format rather than lecture. I want to share my heart as I would with a friend, not just tell you all what you should and shouldn’t do.

 

I’d like to do an occasional post where I can look you in the eyes and say “listen. I know you’re not perfect, and I’m definitely not either. Let’s figure out life together.” instead of writing a speech.

 

I want my posts, particularly my “Dear Reader” posts, to be freeing.

 

Without further adieu, let me bring you the first installment of “Dear Reader.”

 

Dear Reader,

 

You are not your past.

 

You are not what you have done or where you have been.

 

You are not the choices you’ve made.

 

You are not your image or accomplishments.

 

You are not defined by all the sins you’ve committed.

 

You are not your addictions.

 

And I mean it.

 

You are covered by grace.

 

You became covered by grace the moment you said “Jesus, I believe you can and will forgive my sins.”

 

You are covered by grace because you are loved by your Creator. Because He said, “I don’t want to see my child eternally separated from me.”

 

Grace is such that we cannot outrun it. We cannot out-sin it. We cannot get to a point where it does not apply to us anymore. We cannot earn it. Why?

 

Grace is a gift.

 

You do not deserve to be forgiven, and neither do I.

 

But Dear Reader, that’s why grace is amazing. We do not deserve grace of any kind, we do not deserve mercy, we do not deserve forgiveness. Grace is undeserved, and it is beautiful.

 

Grace says, “I have seen your sin and yet I love you. Yet I forgive you. I have seen your filth and yet I call you clean.”

 

God sees us as NEW.

 

He does not see our failures; He sees His Son’s perfection in us.

 

He does not call us on our screw-ups, on our deliberate sins, or on our flaws. He says, “I love you, and what you have done cannot change that.”

 

Dear Reader, you are not your past because God has washed it away.

 

You are called holy and blameless.

 

Titus 3:4-7

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

 

You are justified by His grace. God sees you the same as if you’d lived the perfect life and never did anything wrong.

 

You are not your past – you are a new creation because you are in Christ.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Instead of beating ourselves up over and over about our sin, why don’t we see at as God sees it? FORGIVEN.

 

Psalm 103:12

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

 

So Dear Reader,

 

It’s alright that we’re not perfect, it’s alright that we’re messed up, it’s all right that we’re sinners, because grace covers us. We are held in the hands of a loving God, not an angry one.

 

You do not have to let what you’ve done define how you see yourself. See yourself as God sees you, and let JESUS define you.

 

You are new.

 

*aj

Why Rules Can’t Change Hearts

Why Rules Can’t Change Hearts

I stood in the middle of the park, taking in the fresh air and glancing at the bench that was calling for me to take a rest on it. I was tired. I had just been walking around and the sun was beating down on me.

 

And then I saw it.

 

That ugly, menacing, obnoxious sign that warned, “WET PAINT. DO NOT TOUCH BENCH.” What was I, an obedient dog? That sign couldn’t tell me what to do. So I took it as a challenge. “I’ll show it who’s in charge,” I thought to myself. And so, I decided to touch it.

 

Of course I did.

 

I don’t remember whether the paint on the bench had dried or not, but as soon as I touched it, I was immediately made aware of the fact that I had disobeyed the sign. Of course I didn’t commit a criminal offense, but I knew I hadn’t done what the “rule” had ordered me to. And thinking back on that experience has given me a new perspective on some things.

 

Rules don’t change hearts.

 

Mom says don’t eat the cookie, and what do I do? Eat the cookie.

 

So-and-so says don’t go here, do this, say that, and what do I do? I go there. I do that. I say whatever it is I’m not supposed to say. Because you know what? Having a list of do’s and don’ts doesn’t change my heart, it makes whatever I’m not supposed to do seem so much more appealing.

 

Now, this may seem messed up. And it is. We’re obviously not supposed to sin, it’s wrong and all that, but it just-so-happens to be in our nature.

 

Romans 5:12-13

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”

 

Adam sinned and passed that sinful nature onto us. From the day we’re born, we’re doomed to have the instinct to do that thing, the selfish thing, the disobedient thing, the thing that puts us first, that thing that elevates us to think we can conquer life on our own.

 

And even if we feel that pang of guilt when we do what we know isn’t right or good, we tend to ignore it and do it anyway. Even the “good people” do, because it’s not something we can control by ourselves.

 

We are dead in our sins on our own.

 

Ephesians 2:1-8

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

 

I know that’s a very long and dense passage, but it’s so important.

 

We were dead in our sins, chained to a life of immorality and evil. But because of God’s grace for us, He gave us life.

 

The difference between death and life isn’t just the difference between going to either Heaven or Hell someday. As much as that’s definitely part of it, it’s not all.

 

The difference between death and life is the difference between being controlled by the sin nature or being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

 

People have a misconception that when you’re a Christian, you try to live a decent life, be a good person, and be kind to everyone. That it’s all about trying harder. That if we mess up it’s because we did something really wrong, so we just brush ourselves off and try “harder” next time.

 

But that can be just as futile as is trying to live a perfect life while we’re still entrenched in sin. Trying to impose rules does one thing: shows us that we cannot be perfect.

 

Look at this verse.

 

Romans 3:20

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

 

The Ten Commandments were given to us to show us that we needed a Savior, not to force us to be moral people in order to earn salvation. We’ve already established in Ephesians 2 that grace is a gift, and has nothing to do with our trying to earn it.

 

In our recognizing our need for a Savior, in accepting that amazing and undeserved grace of God that FORGIVES US and removes our sin for us, we are made blameless in His sight. We are given the Holy Spirit inside of us to overcome our sinful nature and make us new.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Romans 5:17

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

 

The law showed us our sin and revealed to us that we needed someone to keep the law for us – namely, Jesus. He didn’t just keep it, but He gave up His life as a sacrifice.

 

Hebrews 9:22

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

 

I’m not advocating disobedience to the law here. I’m really not. I’m not saying we can do whatever we want and it doesn’t matter because we’re forgiven.

 

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

 

We’re free, and by knowing this, we should not want to waltz back into what we’ve been saved from. We don’t need to “just work harder” at being a “good person,” we need to submit to the Holy Spirit working in our lives. In this way, we throw away slavery and embrace our amazing freedom.

 

Making rules doesn’t change hearts. The Holy Spirit does. Live in your freedom!

 

*aj

“Is That a Sin?” How to Live in Freedom

 

Is That a Sin

Being a Christian, I’ve stumbled across oh-so-many blog posts, websites, questions, etc. asking, “Is such-and-such a sin?” or “Is it okay for Christians to __?” and “Should I do xyz?”

 

And honestly, I’ve wondered quite a few of these questions myself.

 

But I’m not here to tell you what’s right and wrong. I want to address what we’re really asking.

 

When we ask, “Is consuming secular media wrong for a Christian?” we are focusing on the bondage of legalism, not freedom.

 

When we try to contemplate, “Is depression a sin?” we focus on our own struggles as opposed to what’s already been done for us.

 

When we tell people, “You’re a Christian, you shouldn’t get tattoos,” we bind people to a law that they do not have to follow anymore.

 

And that’s not right.

 

I’ve heard arguments for all sides of controversial topics. And I’ve come to this conclusion:

 

We have freedom in Christ.

 

There is no commandment in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt not listen to pop music.” There is no verse that says, “You are unforgivable if you are ever depressed.” There is no passage that warns us, “Marking up your body with permanent ink-art will make you forfeit your salvation.”

 

Because you know what? We’re free from the bondage of the law. We’re free from condemnation. We have a new nature inside of us. Asking questions about the specifics of what sin is or is not really do not profit us.

 

Our sins have been totally, 100% forgiven. There is no way that we can will ourselves out of sinning enough to attain perfection. Heck no. Salvation is forgiveness by believing, and then an internal transformation – our desires change, our attitudes change, and our actions will change.

 

No longer will we want to know how much we can get away with (though I know that does creep up on us at times), but we will ask the question, “how much can we live for God?” And I don’t mean out of compulsion, I mean out of joy.

 

We shouldn’t spend hours puzzling over what is a sin and what’s okay to do. If it’s not a sin, cool. But if it is, well, it’s forgiven. That might seem like a terrible way to put it, but read these verses.

 

Galatians 5:1 says this:

 

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

 

So the point isn’t for us to say, “Hey! We’re free! We can do whatever we want!” but to live according to our new nature.

 

Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

 

Our sin nature doesn’t have to control us anymore. This is what it’s saying. We were slaves to sin, but now we are free from falling into those traps of condemnation. Now we can live life fully – not go back to that slavery of sinful patterns that we were rescued from, but living lives pleasing to God.

 

Galatians 5:13 says later,

 

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

 

We have been called to freedom. This means that God does not punish us for our deeds that we do now. We’re all going to struggle with something here on earth, because we’re undeniably human. But we can’t let our struggles take advantage of us, because God is greater than those struggles.

 

Going back to the string of questions we all ask, every Christian wants to know what’s okay to do and what’s not okay. I totally understand that, because the Bible’s not totally clear on those gray areas. But that’s why they are called gray areas.

 

We can’t focus on the what’s-a-sin-am-I-doing-this-wrong aspect of the Christian life. Like my Dad says, “If you’re looking for dirt in the ground, just dig deep and you will definitely find it.” If you’re trying to convict yourself of sin and you look hard enough, you will find it. And dirt ain’t pretty.

 

So you know what we do? We don’t abide by a list of “Christian Rules” in order to try to be perfect. Jesus is our holiness. And so we pursue the understanding of His incredible grace, and out of that flows grateful love and a life pleasing to God.

 

I’m not saying we can’t use common sense to try to figure out what we should and should not do for our own benefit. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look to the Bible for wisdom. But what I am saying is that we shouldn’t stress so much over trying not to sin, because we are free in Christ. And if we seek God in our freedom, wanting to live out His will for us, He will reveal it to us and empower us to carry it out.

 

*aj

A Poem and Commentary on Slavery and Freedom.

A Poem and Commentary on Slavery and Freedom.

Merciless shackles imperiled my fate;

All were hopelessly lost without grace.

Freedom on the lips of every poor child;

Despairing cries came from every place.

My whole life, I’ve gone to church, memorized Scripture, gotten all the answers right in Sunday School, and all that. I’m guessing that many of you readers have lived the same way. However, that doesn’t constitute real freedom or even salvation.

 

I wanted real hope,

But it just seemed too bleak.

Held back by sin’s chains,

I knew I was too weak.

No matter who we are, we’re all born slaves to sin. I was born a sinner, so were you. No amount of baby dedication, baptism, or prayers would save a human born into this world. But as soon as you or I are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose wrong, we make it known that we have this thing – this disease – penetrating our hearts and enslaving us to its grasp.

No one can break free alone, whether the child of a saint or a criminal.

My mind told me to run,

So I tried to flee.

All the while,

Sin gained a stronger grip on me.

All my life I knew what the Bible said. However, knowing what it means is a different story. The Bible isn’t some random self-help fairytale. It is written for us, absolutely, but it’s not a 12-Step handbook.

The thing about Christianity is that we think we should “try harder,” “just be stronger,” or “put more effort into it” and we’ll overcome everything in our lives. But no. The more we try on our own strength, the more we will fail magnificently. The more we see ourselves fail, the more we let sin hold us down.

Salvation came as I realized something:

I’m not the one that holds the key.

The one who could save me could only be

My Savior, the One who died to make me free.

 

No amount of good deeds on my part could earn me my freedom. I was chained to sin, condemned to death, and hopeless. But it didn’t have to stay that way.

I was offered a choice

To go or to stay.

By believing in my Savior, I’d be out –

Why wait another day?

When we realize we’re slaves to sin, we know we can’t leave by anything short of a miracle.

The thing is, we have that miracle. Jesus died and rose again to free us, and when we believe in Him, we are set free.

Regardless of our pasts, regardless of our horrible deeds, regardless of the times that we’ve chosen sin over salvation, we can be saved. It’s a choice.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 20:31

“but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

His hands reached down to free me

Along with the others here.

All I could utter was “thank you” –

Relieved that He was so near.

 

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

We are free from slavery to sin! Hallelujah. We. Are. Free. The chains have been removed and we have been rescued. I grew up in church, yes. But salvation – my own choice – was what made me a free child of God.


My shame, my sin, my terrible chains

All have been destroyed, along with my pain.

My freedom is mine, but was never free;

I owe all to my Savior who rescued me.

 

We couldn’t save ourselves, in all honesty.

Let us praise the One who saved our souls! It is grace that has saved us, and not our works. When we were powerless in the darkness, we were given the choice of freedom.

And freedom is what I chose.

How about you?

*aj

Selfishness, The Holy Spirit, and I’m Not Perfect.

Selfishness, The Holy Spirit, and I'm Not Perfect.

This is somewhat of a difficult post for me to write.

I’m writing this post to clarify a few things, and to apologize to all of you lovely readers.

I have a habit of writing the night before I post something, which is usually okay, but I’ve definitely made a few mistakes when it comes to that. Sometimes, I don’t let God guide my words and I end up saying things that aren’t necessarily inaccurate, but incomplete. And I want to address one of those posts today.

I wrote Fighting Selfishness on August 11th of this year. I don’t regret writing it, but there’s so much that I didn’t say, could’ve said differently, or just shouldn’t have said. For that, I’m sorry. I’d like to address that post and continue with what I was trying to say.

I wrote Fighting Selfishness because I saw in my own life that I had a tendency to be selfish. I like to do my own thing (which is okay in and of itself) but I was perhaps letting it get in the way of what I needed to be doing to help others instead.

That motivated me to write the post, but I missed a key element.

Sure, we should strive for selflessness, because selflessness is a good thing.

HOWEVER, if we are not being led by the Spirit, we will not be able to become more Christlike.

So here is my point.

Selflessness is possible for us because we have the Holy Spirit in us, growing us and leading us to become more like Christ.

There is no “try harder.” There is no “work more at it.”

And just so you don’t think I’m making this up, here’s a verse in Romans 14. This passage is talking about convictions and our freedom in Christ, specifically in regard to food, and I really like it. If you want to check it out, go here.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We have been given freedom in Christ to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Freedom means we “can” do whatever we want, but not that we “should.” We are no longer bound by the law and the Ten Commandments, because that is not what saves us!

Praise God for that, because we could never keep the law perfectly.

Back to my points on the selfishness article.

I didn’t say anything about the Holy Spirit there because I was so focused on how selfishness isn’t living like a true Christian should.

That’s not the point at all, though.

The point is to grow in an understanding of the amazing grace of God. To live by the Holy Spirit’s leading, and not by a list of do’s and don’t’s, and should’s and shouldn’t’s.

This is what prompts us to live selflessly.

 

I’m so sorry if my tone has ever been a “you have to do ____” instead of an encouragement to live out our faith with joy. I want to inspire us to live lives that are led by the Holy Spirit, and not just some laws. Because that’s not right.

We should live selflessly, yeah. But we shouldn’t be aiming to live more this or more that. Our aim should be to grow in Christ, to please Him, and to become more like Him. Not to follow some rules in order to be better people.

By living a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, our selflessness flows from that. Why? Because ultimately, it’s not about us. If we become selfless because of our own doing, then we’d have something to boast about, which we don’t. If we succeed at something, it will always be God working through us and not us doing it on our own.

That’s basically the point that I want to clarify today. I’m sorry that I didn’t say it before.

Thank you all for being patient with me as I grow in my own faith!

*aj

Religion vs. Christianity

Religion vs. Christianity

A lot of people dismiss Christianity as just another religion. But it’s not. And I’m here to show you why.

(Yes, I just gave all you awesome readers an abrupt start. Forgive me, lovely lords and ladies. But please read on.)

When people think of Christianity, a lot of times they think of religion. It’s right up there with Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Judaism…and all those.

But Christianity? It’s not the same. Really. I hesitate to consider it a religion, even though that may be upsetting to some.

Because there is something that stands out about Christianity that other religions do not have.

Freedom and Sincerity.

 

“But Amanda,” you say, “I’m a Mormon, and I’m very sincere.”

I am sure you are. After all, belief in something is much more than just words. Saying the words “I believe” do not ensure that you actually do, for all that it proves is that you have a voice and a mind.

But freedom? I will explain that in a minute.

I’d like to point out a few things about the Christian life.

First of all, God knows we are not perfect. He knows that we are sinners and, by nature, turn away from Him.

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But yet, He extends grace to us, at our darkest. And by receiving that, sin has no power over us anymore.

Romans 6:14

“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

And, in turn, we are changed from the inside out.

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Did anyone hear anything about good works earning anything in there? Obligations? Our performance?

Uh, I sure didn’t.

So as I was saying, we have freedom.

Freedom from the power of sin and death over us.

Freedom from eternal life and righteous standing before God being based on works.

Freedom to live for God because of gratitude to Him for your salvation.

Not because you’re locked into tradition.

Not because Mom and Dad make you go to church so that hopefully, religion will rub off on you.

Not because you have obligations to live up to so that you’ll go to Heaven when you die.

Because of the freedom you’ve been given, sincerity springs from that.

 

And that’s why Christianity is different.

Why we look different. Why act different. Why we are motivated to live a pure and holy life.

Perhaps in the future, I’ll write some blog posts reflecting on other religions.

What I can say is this, however.

I’m not religious.

I’m a Jesus-lover, for He loved me first and pursued my soul.

I’m not living to please God because I have to.

I live to please God because it brings me joy, and the only joy that’ll ever last.

I’m not bound by obligations.

I’m set free by the love of my Creator for me.

1 Peter 2:16

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

And that’s what I want to do.

*aj

Living To Be Freshly Pressed (Or Not)

Writing

Blogging (and all writing, for that matter) is absolutely amazing.

I love it so much.

I can press my fingertips to the keys on my keyboard, and almost magically, words come out.

It’s my joy to sit up until midnight (or 1am or 2am) and just express myself with written words that I could never formulate in speech.

I love to write about what God is doing in my life. What I’m learning. Who I am. And who I want to be. It’s a passion and a privilege of mine to be able to use my little fingertips for the glory of God.

No matter what others tell me, I’m going to keep on journaling and typing, because that is what I love to do, and it is one of my ways that I worship God.

However, there is a very interesting feature on WordPress called “Freshly Pressed”. Basically, WordPress employees find ten well-written and interestingly-expressed blog posts (that have a unique point of view and are attractive) every day from around the WordPress blogosphere and promote them on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page. To many bloggers, this is an AMAZING goal.

I mean, who wouldn’t want five million views on their blog and potentially millions of followers because one post went viral?

Tell me, who doesn’t want to be popular?

This presents a slight problem. See, I can almost assure you that people have blogs dedicated to “trying to make their posts go viral”. If you know anything about modern media, well, you’ll know that it doesn’t happen that way. You can’t produce viral content purposefully, but I suppose that people don’t really understand that.

At the same time, I think we forget this point that should be so obvious to us in life.

So many people live their lives for show. They live to be cool and popular. (Sounds to me like another way of saying ‘viral’ and ‘Freshly Pressed’.) But really, does that make a lot of sense?

Let me put it back in blogging and writing terms.

Every Monday and Friday night, I stay up late doing what I love. I eat chocolate (shh, don’t tell Mom and Dad…just kidding) and listen to instrumental music (good for the brain) and wear away my laptop keys in the beautiful silence.

And not only do I love doing it, but I write for one main reason: I do it because I love the One who saved my soul, and my life is dedicated to Him.

I don’t write to make my post popular, though high stats days are definitely nice. But see, if I were to write for being Freshly Pressed only, well, I think that would alter my content.

Hypothetically, I wouldn’t express my faith so openly.

I’d probably side with the secular world when it came to issues like marriage and politics, relationships and worldviews.

I would probably use explicit language to “blend in” with everyone else.

And honestly, to me, that sounds miserable.

I will either write to please God, or I will write to please the world.

Do I really want to write words that pacify a bunch of little mortals, or do I want to please the Almighty God of the Universe and hear Him say “Well Done”?

I’m going with the latter.

And I believe life is the same way.

As a Christian, do I want to hide my faith, act like everyone else, hold the views of the secular world (that the Bible is clearly against) use inappropriate language, and ditch the Bible for temporary popularity?

UM, NO WAY. Never in a million years.

I have made my choice that I do not need the approval of the world to live my life. I already have the approval of the Creator of EVERYTHING EVER, so what more do I need?

Am I going to live to be Freshly Pressed, or live to please my Lord and my God?

Am I going to change my lifestyle to be popular according to the world’s standards, or live to serve my Maker and Sustainer?

I choose to live in freedom. I am free from the mold that the world has set upon me to be popular and cool, and I am going to live for God.

And if no one else does? Well, I still will.

*aj